The Jeffress-Huckabee Connection

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 11 2011 9:19 AM

The Jeffress-Huckabee Connection

Why do I think the Robert Jeffress anti-Mormon eruption is a net positive for Mitt Romney? Well, some sort of Mormon Moment was inevitable. There will be other times in this election when the popular conversation around a dinner table, or a card table, or a water cooler -- pick your cliche -- is about the ins and outs of Mormon theology. These won't be good times for Romney. It's good for him that Jeffress kicked this round off, because we saw what happened in 2007 when a less objectionable figure plays the Mormon card. I'm talking about Mike Huckabee, who brilliantly tweaked the religion issue a few times before the Iowa caucuses, and stopped Romney dead. He ran an ad with the bright, burning phrase "CHRISTIAN LEADER." He gave an interview to the New York Times wherein he mused about whether Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers. Sure, he apologized, but the story last three days and played out less than a month before the caucuses.

Huckabee's a uniquely talented evangelical politician. Jeffress isn't. But it's not like Huckabee and Jeffress aren't allies. Pictured right is the cover of Jeffress's upcoming book about "How America's Last Days Can Be Your Best." The foreword is by Huckabee. I asked Huckabee (through his PAC) whether or not he agrees with Jeffress on the Mormon questions; haven't gotten a response, would be surprised if I did.

The book's not out until January, but Jeffress started a PR tour for it on -- what else? -- September 11.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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